Got to Teach!: March 2015

3D Mint Tin Cell Model

After writing about Mint Tin Book Reports, I was flooded with other ideas on how these little tins could be used in the classroom.  One of those ideas was making a cell model!

In addition to the common mint tin, you will also want to have some "fine line" markers for this project.  I used mounting tape, to give the cell model a 3D effect.  But you could also use craft foam and white school glue to get the same effect. You can download the template I used for the cell model, cover, and insert for free {HERE}.

The parts of the cell model should be printed on card stock.  Regular copy paper is a bit too flimsy and doesn't create a clean pop-out effect.  Color and cut out the background of the cell and the organelles.

On the back of the larger piece that has the nucleus, apply one layer of mounting tape (or craft foam) and adhere it to the cell background. 

The other organelles will be added using two layers of mounting tape.  This is allow them to pop-out a bit further so you can layer them on to the cell.

Continue adding all of the organelles using two layers of mounting tape or craft foam. You can then attached the cell background into the interior of the mint tin lid using glue or double-sided tape.

The insert of the mint tin has a page for each of the organelles.  Students can color the diagrams and then write what the function of each organelle is.  Cut out all of the inserts and then attach the tabs using small dots of glue.  The insert can then be folded like an accordion.  

Well there it is!  A neat, tidy little cell model that your students will enjoy.

Mint Tin Book Report

As teachers we know the importance of adding novel and interesting twists to some of the traditional projects that our students complete. The term "Book Report" has developed a lackluster connotation, at best.  However, book reports can be a great way to engage your students in critical and creative thinking, especially with this "little" twist!

"Mint Tin Book Reports" are a perfect project that you can easily incorporate into your instruction.  I love that these are SO open-ended: students can include chapter summaries, character analyses, or a story plot (which is pictured below).  You can also download a free template I made for this project {HERE}.

You'll need one of these common mint tins (about 3.5 by 2.25 inches) for each of your students. You might want to send out an email to your fellow teachers and your students' parents for donations of their empty tins:-)

Using the background template, students can draw a background from an important scene in the book and glue into the interior of the lid.  My drawing skills are lacking, to say the least, so I used John Tenniel's illustrations for Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

The next step is adding your foreground, which will "pop out" from the background.  Again, your students can do an amazing job drawing these themselves.  If possible, I recommend having the students use card stock for this part; it holds up better and creates a cleaner pop-up effect.  Once again, I used the talents of Tenniel.

To give the foreground the pop-out effect, I glued pieces of crafting foam onto the back of it.  

The foam pieces of the foreground can then be glued on to the background.  I just love the 3D effect!  It sort of reminds me of a cross between a mini diorama and a pop-up book.  

Students can then complete the "cover" of their tins.  I used white label paper for the cover below, but double stick tape would also work well. Just print a few blank templates for your students and they will fit the top of the tin perfectly.

The insert that I used below focuses on story structure.  However, the template that I made also has a blank option so that you can incorporate any elements you would like. 

The two pieces of the insert are then attached using glue and folded like an accordion.  

Click on the image below to check out my blog post on making cell models using mint tins!

Electrical Circuit Game Show Lesson

This is one of my all-time favorite lessons to do during our electricity and magnetism unit! It is such an engaging way to get the kids working with circuits.  You'll need the supplies pictured below for each student.  Students can share a circuit set, if you don't have one for each child.

You can grab the Circuit Quiz Board printable {HERE}.  Make sure to print this on card stock.  You can also cut a lot of the tin foil strips very easily and quickly using a paper cutter.  Or depending on their age, your students can simply cut their own strips with scissors; just make sure they are as close as possible to 1/2 inch wide.

Have the students hole punch on the circles with the dotted lines.

Students can choose any topic they like to create a 6 question quiz.  The example shown below is based on the "energy pyramid."  Other possible topics are "Mohs hardness scale," "cell structures" etc.  You can have students look through their science or social studies textbooks for topics and questions/answers.  On the back of the quiz board have students connect the correct holes with 6 different colored markers/crayons; This step is important, because it can get a bit confusing when it's time to tape down tin foil strips.

The next step is to start taping down the tin strips.  They need to be taped down one by one over the colored lines.  Students must make sure that the entire hole is covered with foil and that the entire foil strip is insulated with masking tape (see picture below).  The foil should not go beyond the edge of the game board. Students will need to test each strip with a circuit.  To test their strips the students will need an open circuit with a light bulb.  I like using 3 alligator clips to make the open circuit.  Then students will simply touch the tips of the open circuit ends to the exposed circles of tin foil, and if everything is assembled correctly, the bulb will light up.

The finished product

Once students are finished testing and taping, they can trade game show cards with classmates and complete each other's quizzes.  Each student (contestant) can provide feedback for the quiz on the table attached to the quiz.  


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